The first three episodes of Lucasfilm & Disney+'s Andor set everything up, but with episode four, we are moving into a more traditional viewing experience as the show begins to take on a more week-to-week vibe. We had almost all of our basic introductions in those opening episodes as well, so now it's time to see Cassian off-world and fighting the Empire in a new way that he wasn't expecting. Or, in this case, the same way but on a larger scale because it's time for a heist.
Andor Is Teeing Up Ocean's Eleven Star Wars Style
Cassian mentioned when Luthen was recruiting him about stealing from the Empire, and he went into this as a thief. It seems that he will continue this trajectory as he is the last-minute addition to a crew looking to steal a massive amount of money from a base. Of course, the situation is nearly impossible; the odds are not exactly in their favor, and no one trusts each other entirely but really doesn't trust this random dude [Cassian] who just joined up, and of course, they only have one shot. All of this isn't exactly groundbreaking when it comes to setup for a story, but the devil has always been in the details. Andor is a show looking to explore the side of the rebelling that the movies didn't really have time to focus on because they were looking at the big picture. And what devil are we looking at? The most basic thing in the world? Funding. Rebellions might be built on hope, but they can't exactly thrive or win on it.
Rogue One didn't exactly look at those sorts of details very much because that movie had a very specific story that needed to be told, but that was also a movie about the smaller side of rebellions that have to happen if they are to thrive. You need intel if you're going to send in the Han Solo's and the Luke Skywalker's and Leia Organa's out into the fight to be pure, but gathering intel and feeding troops isn't glamorous, and it isn't exciting. In the previous review, we mentioned how Andor leans into the idea that war leaves everyone bloody, but it's also petty. This next series of stories seems to be leaning into the all too familiar saying that many veterans have said: war is boring until it isn't.
Something a little unfortunate is how much of Cassian's arc in these early episodes of Andor seems to be mirroring Jyn's arc in Rogue One. The two of them weren't exactly portrayed as opposites since both Cassian and Jyn are ruthless, but his dedication and her cynicism were so supposed to make that dynamic interesting. It isn't surprising that someone like Cassian could start off with enthusiasm for the fight, have it beaten or bled out of him after many years of losing, and then find his way back to the cause, but we haven't seen that yet. We haven't seen the Cassian who has been in this fight since he was a kid. Maybe finding his way back to the cause won't be his arc for the entire season, it's a bit too early to tell, but it's a little unfortunate to see the show lean so heavily on the parallels between the two instead of giving Cassian something wholly unique.
The Last Big Player Enters The Game
Episode four of Andor also sees what appears to be the last of the primary cast members introduced. One of them is Supervisor Dedra Meer (Denise Gough) of the Imperial Security Bureau. She is fascinated by the absolute fuck up that was Syril's attempt to catch Cassian on Ferrix and sees the potential for something bigger lurking in the shadows that should be investigated. However, Dedra has her own little adversary at work in the form of Supervisor Blevin (Ben Bailey Smith), who essentially tells Dedra to stay in her lane. We, the audience, know that she is oh so right and there is something brewing, but it becomes very clear that this isn't going to be an easy fight for her to prove that this is worth investigating. Blevin gets to expertly hand Syril a pink slip and send him home with his tail between his legs while Major Partagaz, played by the absolutely fantastic Anton Lesser, proves why you hire excellent actors to give your monologues.
Skarsgard also jumps in and reminds us why he was hired for this role, and we get to finally see Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly) in all of her glory. Star Wars fans have wanted to see Coruscant in all of its glory when it has been under the control of the Empire for a long time, and it appears that is what we are going to get. We see that Luthen's cover is that of a bumbling antique dealer, and Syril will also be hanging around since he has to go live with his mother since he doesn't have a job anymore. We're going to see Mon going through the Senate and playing a very dangerous game of hiding in plain sight, something that is going to be hard to make sense of, considering we know she makes it out all right.
Prequel-era enthusiasts are really going to enjoy the contrast between this Coruscant and the one we saw in those movies so many years ago. The contrast is important because we need to see how things have changed under the Empire, and making things so slick, white, and utilitarian is one way to go about it. If the city looks like a jail or a hospital, a little too clean, we won't trust it, and we shouldn't because there is something dirty under those pristine white uniforms.
Still Unclear If Andor Can Stick The Landing
It's a little unclear at this moment just how much time Andor will dedicate to stories at Coruscant and following around all of these characters. The show is called Andor, and we don't want to lose focus on our main character. Sometimes it felt like this episode was forgetting that, but this episode also felt like a soft pilot in a way which is an interesting choice. Very few of the Disney+ shows have managed to nail the pacing issues. Andor, if this episode is anything to go by, is instead going the route of two or three-episode arcs instead of spreading it out over one season or giving each episode its own story. That makes sense a little if you're thinking about the way that they are planning on covering season two, where entire years will be covered in a few episodes, but this first season it's a weird choice. It's still a little too early to tell if it's going to work out on the pacing issues, but if next week is a chore, it won't be a good sign. Star Wars has also overpromised on heists as well in both Rogue One and Solo, this show has the time to do Ocean's Eleven in the Star Wars universe, but we'll have to see what we end up getting.